About two months ago I received a text message from S. saying, “Fuck you.” I replied, like an idiot, asking what was wrong. There was no reply back. Then he removed me from his contacts list. After that I didn’t give it much thought and still have not. Work took over, holidays came and went, and then you know – life happens. I not once paused to ask myself why S. left me. In fact I think he’s more than justified in leaving me (I know how mind-fucked I must be to think this considering how he treated me but I think it nonetheless). We spent so much time hurting one another that most assuredly he (and I) are better off without one another.
Now here’s where I’ll interject with something that happened last night over dinner with K. We were in Little Tokyo and K blurted, “Who are you?” to me. I started laughing and I promised it wasn’t funny. (Is laughter my coping mechanism?!) I said nothing else after I stopped laughing but K. continued, “You adapt to whoever you’re hanging out with. I’ve noticed. So, who are you?!” I could tell it bothered K., not really ‘knowing’ me and yet feeling completely in love with me.
Later in the night K. said, “You’re perfect. I seriously can’t believe you haven’t found anyone yet. You’re so mysterious, I hate it. I’ve never felt this way before and I can’t explain it. I think I’m in love with you.”
Everyone’s entitled to feel any which way they please. But I say very little back when K. starts professing something emotional. Let it all out. I don’t mind; it doesn’t scare me, it doesn’t bother me. It… doesn’t change anything. It… doesn’t affect me. I still don’t feel anything. Except maybe a small twinkling of an apology but I know how shitty that would be.
Last night wasn’t the first time K. asked me who I am exactly. I don’t know what to say. But it reminded me of an argument I had with S. But I couldn’t tell K. that. The connection would do very little to assuage K. anyway.
Not so long before S. left me we had an argument about this. He felt extremely annoyed by me saying he didn’t really know who I was (despite the fact that I could argue he’s the one that knows me best). He asked me the same, “Who are you?” question to which I said I didn’t know what he meant. He was complaining I had all these mundane things to say about my day (which was fine) but it didn’t seem to add up to a substantial person. I think what he was getting at was my inability to reveal any emotional weakness, but I can’t be sure. Honestly I don’t know what that question is supposed to elicit from me. Or what anyone wants from me in reply to it.
But the point is it’s not the first time someone has asked me this. Yes, I adapt. It makes it possible for me to socialize with any number of people. I can be extremely loud, I can be extremely quiet, I can be polite, I can be fun, I can be… anything. I adapt in response to you. But I suppose people want to see me be me versus the version of me that adapts. (Truthfully I can’t see why though. Who gives a shit who I am? Does it even matter?)
I’m fairly certain that at least once S. implied sociopathy. To illustrate: sociopaths are superficially charming, have shallow emotions, and exhibit very controlled behavior. Triple check on that one. “There may be an intellectual understanding of appropriate social behavior but no emotional response to the actions of others.”
It seems to ring a bell, doesn’t it?
S. also implied something similar about Matthew, the only person I’ve ever “fallen in love” with, coincidentally.
Here’s a small poem I wrote when I was 17 way back in 2006. It’s also probably the last poem I ever wrote because poetry is severely unnatural to me. But what strikes me is how true it holds. I have simultaneously changed very much over the years and yet I could re-read anything I’ve ever written and it’s all still very much true, completely actually.
Simile of Myself
I am like a perpetually sealed letter to the world,
Yearning to be opened and read a million times over.
The letter remains unopened, hiding all that is sincere.
An aesthetic stamp adorns the exterior,
The true contents known only to the writer.
Try to open it, dare.
Surprise, surprise, it’s utterly empty inside.
It’s weird that I wrote this in 2006 without so much as a thought of what it meant but it’s what came to mind at the time. The assignment was to write a poem about myself in simile form. Now, though, this poem strikes me as wholly true.
But back to last night…
K. treats me like I’m an invalid. I bought some groceries in Little Tokyo so I could learn to make a Japanese dish and K. tried to pay for them (though of course some clever maneuvering disallowed that). And then! refused to let me carry the bag to the car.
Much later in the evening just before I left K.’s house, I could see there was this mild level of anxiety building up. “You’re so independent. I wish you needed me. Even as a friend you don’t need me.” It was a response to K. trying yet again to do something for me and I said, “I don’t like people doing things like that for me” (even though it was sweet). My self-sufficiency must be maintained at all times.
At this point I don’t know what I’m doing. K. kept saying all these things like, “I stayed up all night thinking about you. I couldn’t sleep. My friend tried to distract me, telling me stories from his childhood, but I was only thinking of you” and “You have no idea how much I missed you” even though we’d seen each other only two days prior.
None of it bothers me. It doesn’t flatter me either, though. I just don’t know. I try very hard to assuage K. by spending time together as often as my schedule allows, which is probably not often enough for K.
Do I miss S.? Yes. But there’s a comma after that that can be followed with: but I don’t need S.
Some days I wish I could feel more.
Some days I wish…
Saying anything more would be saying too much.